Pendle Council is currently considering how to use the £1.5m Brownfield Sites Fund which it set aside earlier this year.
At the recent meeting of the council’s Executive, members discussed the Fund which aims to make brownfield site development easier, particularly for new housing.
We plan to work with prospective developers on a site-by-site basis to fully understand their obstacles and try to help them overcome themCoun. Mohammad Hanif
Coun. Mohammad Hanif, who has responsibility for Housing, welcomed the latest Executive report.
He said: “There can be a number of reasons why brownfield sites can be difficult to develop.
“These can range from demolition costs, treating contamination, sites being under several ownerships, and being unable to gain the necessary finance to proceed.
“We plan to work with prospective developers on a site-by-site basis to fully understand their obstacles and try to help them overcome them.”
Funding could be made available through grants, loans, the Council taking an equity share or a combination of all of these options.
Council Leader Mohammed Iqbal added: “We’ve been working with the Homes and Communities Agency to consider ways we can get the most out of the Fund.
“The Agency told us we’d hear about the government’s regeneration initiatives in the summer, but we’re still waiting and we’re still in the dark as to what, if any, funding Pendle will receive.
“This is very frustrating because it’s holding us back from launching our own scheme to develop brownfield sites locally.
“We now understand that more detail may come out soon and we shall continue to press the government vigorously on this matter.”
Coun. Tony Greaves, Deputy Leader who has responsibility for Finance, stressed: “£1.5m of public money is quite a lot, but it needs to be spent carefully and targeted where it will really make a difference.
“It is vital to use it to bring in more funding from other public and private sector sources so that more brownfield sites can be brought into use.
“We are getting on with the work on this, but we can’t press a green button until the government announces its brownfield sites policies and tells us how it’s going to help.”